Tom finds his feet in new job – thanks to JobAccess

a carpenter doing his job in a carpentry workshop
Image: a carpenter doing his job in a carpentry workshop.

Tom was rapt to score his first job at a cabinet-making business.

“I was so happy to have got myself a gig,” Tom* said. “It was everything I had hoped for after finishing school.”

But Tom found communicating with teammates, understanding what to do for his job or even how to be alerted in the event of an emergency was a big challenge.

You see, Tom is deaf and uses Auslan as his main form of communication.

“I must admit, it was pretty tough not completely understanding what my boss wanted me to do. And I couldn’t really communicate with my workmates either.

“It was confusing for me – and probably for them too. I wasn’t sure I’d even be any good on the job.”

That’s where JobAccess stepped in.

An independent worksite assessment was organised onsite by JobAccess with Tom, his employer and an Auslan sign language interpreter to determine the disability-specific barriers and identify solutions.

Auslan support for the workplace

Following the worksite assessment, JobAccess organised the following support for Tom through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) based on the recommendations of the assessor:

  • Installation of strobe lighting within the factory to notify Tom in the event of an emergency rather than just the audible alert installed by the employer
  • A whiteboard on the wall of the factory so the employer could write down Tom’s jobs for the day, and Tom could use this to communicate with his employer and colleagues if he couldn’t make himself understood with basic sign language
  • Deafness Awareness Training incorporating basic Auslan signing to help Tom’s co-workers learn how to interact on a basic level in Auslan
  • Auslan posters to put on the wall of the factory with basic sign language and an Auslan dictionary to assist with communication
  • Auslan interpreting for the workplace so an interpreter could be present during induction, training and ongoing staff meetings and ensure Tom could clearly understand what was required of him and as enable him to interact with his teammates at staff meetings.

Through the EAF, up to $6000 of Auslan interpreting is available within the workplace in a 12-month period.

“I am so grateful to JobAccess. It has worked out so well for all of us. And I’m not sure what I would have done if we hadn’t got the help we needed,” Tom said.

*Name has been changed to give Tom anonymity.

What support is available?

There is a wide range of support available from JobAccess for people with disability, employers, and service providers. JobAccess has managed more than 61,000 applications for funding workplace adjustments since 2006.

Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to speak to our Advisers about workplace adjustments and the Employment Assistance Fund. You can also submit an online enquiry through the JobAccess website.

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